Remove the polygon option. Ignoring the fact that you are tossing 2-dimensional shapes into 3 dimensional air, the fact remains that a polygon with a sufficiently large number of sides would have less drag than a circle at the right Reynolds number. (Consider golf ball dimples, and that laminar flow has more drag than turbulent flow.)

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by: Anonymous

If we say that this drag problem is really asking about 2 d flow, then we can discuss it further. One could argue that an airfoil could be a polygon, even if the segments were straight lines. Then this polygon could have less drag than some circle. BTW I don't know where the confusion came in, but laminar flow creates less drag than turbulent flow, not vice versa. The dimples on a golf ball, among other things, gives energy to the flow, which delays separation. Separated flow creates a lot of drag. In addition to separation, the dimples help generate lift through magnus forces, and help with the ball's stability by helping fix the stagnation points on the ball.

If anyone is curious as to why other things, like planes, aren't covered with dimples, then read this:


To sum it up, the wings on a plane are a more efficient shape than a sphere, and dimples are unnecessary.

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